Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

















April 19, 2014


Go, Look: Flip The Switch

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If I Were In Athens, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In DC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Salt Lake City, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In NYC, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In London, I'd Go To This

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Go, Bid: Stan And Sharon Sakai Art Auctions Going On eBay

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April 18, 2014


Go, Look: The Dungeon

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Go, Look: Swimming Lessons

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CBLDF: Bone Hits ALA Top Ten Most Challenged List For 2013

imageThe Comics Book Legal Defense Fund has a nice piece up here on an announcement earlier this week that Jeff Smith's all-ages fantasy Bone was through some bizarre set of cultural circumstances that demand our attention on the top 10 list of 2013's most challenged books. The aspects on which it was challenges are said to be, "political viewpoint, racism and violence." I think most comics fans familiar with the book -- most readers of all kinds familiar with the book -- would have a hard time pulling a racism thread from its pages. And if Smith has a political viewpoint except in the broadest sense, I've never been exposed to it through the works or outside of it. I guess there is some violence in there, but nothing that isn't routinely seen in other similarly-targeted works in a lot of media. The primary mode of confrontation in Bone is running away.

As that CBLDF piece notes, the trend seems to be towards works read by young people that might not fit squarely within the absolutely most rigid definition of what a very sensitive child might have been expected to read in 1923. This suggests a cultural argument is being made against some of these books rather than our seeing the accrual of independent challenges that just happen to settle on a specific kind of work. I asked Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein how many challenges this might represented, and he came back with a number over 300, which is astonishing to me. It should be alarming for all of us.
 
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Go, Look: Ten Stories Featuring Doll Man

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A Bit Of A Link-Up Catch-Up On Sexual Harassment Issues

The general comics culture conversation about sexual harassment issues has continued with a number of articles worth noting. The issue came to the forefront this week after the writer and editor Janelle Asselin's April 11 article criticizing a comic book cover drove a series of unplesant, severe reactions ranging from patronizing replies from fellow professionals to anonymous rape threats. As linked to a few times here earlier this week, the reaction Asselin received and her forthright confrontation of those responses led to a strong show of support and general pushback against those elements. It also led to some essay writing, most notably this post from Asselin, around which all commentary has since orbited.

Some of the newer and/or new-to-me pieces I've stumbled across:

* Asselin's follow-up post here should be read and considered if you're following this story in any way. Asselin also questions the course of the argument over the past week, and what was perhaps required for it to register with some folks, which I think is an important thing to track.

* Andy Khouri wrote a very well-received article here calling on men to police, question and raise objections to other men both making threats against female industry members and participating in an atmosphere that facilitates that kind of abominable behavior. Brett White wrote a similar article here. Several creators like Dylan Horrocks here took to social media to affirm such articles or to generally comment on the ideas presented in a "we have to stop right now" fashion. Here's a line-in-sand type post from Anne Scherbing concerning the rape threat element and the culture that allows such things.

* Lea Hernandez wrote a post here about the general cost of dealing with ten thousand gallons of dolloped bullshit of varying flavors and intensity just to function as a working professional. I think it's important to note that continuity, although there are no hard and fast rules in how we contextualize or choose not to when it comes to issues like these.

* Jill Pantozzi posits a theory here about what drives some of the contemptuous to demented responses to criticism of sexist or non-inclusive elements in comics art: that it will get the in the way of these books remaining masturbatory fodder for a subset of fans that count on that function. That's mean and funny and communicates. For me, however, that argument's primary value is to suggest a construction where the intensity of the reaction is a fear response: fear of being severed from that thing, fear chased by resentment that this denial of pleasure is deeply unfair.

I'm sure I missed some great ones.

I would also recommend that you take part in the sexual harassment essay mentioned. That's here.

I'm still processing and learning on these issues. I don't have a lot to add at this juncture. I'd be happier at this point running your commentary, I also hope I can re-publish on CR a blog post I liked from early this week, depending on whether I can come to an agreement with its author. If not, I'll run a link Monday and discuss it a bit. I don't want this issue to go away. I don't want it to be talked about until it no longers registers as important.

It's an overall positive and certainly the very least we can do not to countenance rape threats in any way, or any threats of violence. Further, that we have an obligation to refuse to tolerate such behavior or any of the flourishes of culture that might make that behavior less aberrant and abominable -- even if that's just in the hearts of minds of desperately messed-up people -- seems sound to me. That men may have a greater opportunity to combat certain aspects of this because of their exposure to less of it as a target and more of it as an enabler or nearby witness, that seems to me an idea worth exploiting to positive effect.

I hope for two additional things.

I hope there's a self-critical aspect to this. Correcting bad behavior and affecting cultural change requires asking hard questions of yourself. That may mean sussing out how you participate. That may mean figuring how you need to see things differently. That may mean coming to terms with what has taken you so long to make this a priority. I hope everyone that is writing about these issues in terms of broad principles will write a piece six months from now about applying those ideas in their day to day dealings. I hope to join you. We can't keep revisiting these things; we can't just keep making vows to do better; that's like constantly starting over with a new #1. Comics has made progress in recent months, I think. The expectation of safe-space policies at conventions seems a greater, more universal priority now. We also seem more comfortable taking these issues on when they flare up. We can do more.

I also hope that we'll be ambitious in terms of engaging and correcting any and all behavior that puts someone at a disadvantage based on factors like gender or race. When harassment issues roared up the Team Comics driveway as something to discuss last Fall, I argued a connection between a general lack of professional standards and the facilitation of a lot of rotten behavior. I still think that's true. I hope that maybe for a while we'll all reconsider being patronizing to a fellow community member. I hope we can curb lascivious or inappropriately intimate commentary in a professional setting. I hope we can get past assuming bad faith when someone is trying to do the right thing or at least a better thing. There's likely something we can all do to make things better, even if you never hear a rape joke or never find yourself standing over someone's shoulder as they type out a rape threat. I am very terrible at a lot of these things, and could stand to get a lot better, too. Let's get to work.
 
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Go, Look: Don't Let Fear Stop You From Traveling

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Two Comics Proximate Figures Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

I wanted to draw quick attention to the fact that the movie director Bryan Singer and the cartoonist/artist/Facebook multi-millionaire David Choe both popped in my news feed yesterday. Bryan Singer is being sued by a man named Michael Egan for various instances of sex abuse that the accuser says happened when he was 17. That David Choe's name popped up in a commentary article about the description of a sexual encounter he apparently shared with a podcast audience.

The Singer one is a potential big deal in terms of entertainment industry stories go as the director's new X-Men movie is set to open in theaters worldwide next month. I would imagine this will also lead to accusations of opportunism from Singer's defense team. Interest should also be fueled by the idea that Singer's preference for younger men was facilitated by his position in the filmmaking world, something that's been long-rumored specifically about Singer and more generally as a thing that happens. The controversy over allegations about misconduct by writer/director Woody Allen should also provide context in terms of news producers seeing this as a potential story of interest and paying close attention to it; how it rolls out is also likely to be closely compared in terms of the difference between those two stories.

The David Choe story is a much smaller story and lacks the actual news hook of a legal filing; for all I know it's a prank. But I wanted to put that on people's radars in case it does becomes a thing. Choe has a long history of provocative behavior that would seem to indicate the possibility of this being real and this being a prank and either option amounting to something or not. There's really no way to tell. Choe doesn't do comics work like he once did, but there elements of his creative world that overlap.

Both stories are terribly disturbing.

Update: Singer canceled this weekend's appearance at WonderCon due to the controversy.
 
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Go, Look: Titan, Part 3

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Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital

By Tom Spurgeon

* I thought this statement from the direct market retailing advocacy group ComicsPro and this essay by Rachel Edidin at Wired partly in response to that ComicsPro statement were the two newer pieces I thought most interesting in terms of Amazon.com's recent acquisition of the on-line retailer comiXology. The idea of a "real thing" in terms of comics feels very 2003.

* Gary Tyrrell asked a couple of questions about the Amazon.com/comiXology deal here that I haven't seen answered -- admittedly, I have yet to go looking.

* this is also a very nice post from Tyrrell here, with a suggestion I hope those attending TCAF will consider.

* finally, I'm not sure why it struck me this morning instead of any of the others, but I wonder sometimes if there are effects as to the nature of the geek skew in terms of comics interest on the Internet that we don't quite see or process. I mean, I don't think about those kinds of things the way I did when the content-driven parts of the Internet were becoming more solid in the late 1990s, but every so often I'll see something basic like the respective sizes of wikipedia entries for the Marvel villain Scourge and the underground comix master Victor Moscoso and figure that has to have some sort of impact.
 
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Go, Look: Blow Up

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Collective Memory: SPACE 2014

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of SPACE, held April 12 and April 13 at Ramada Plaza Columbus North Hotel And Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

*****

Institutional
* Convention Site
* Location
* Host City

Blog Entries
* A Cartoonist In Kekionga
* Alex Heberling
* All Events In Columbus
* AMICVLVS
* Angst And Ennui

* Clattertron 01
* Clattertron 02
* Comic Related

* Drunken Cat Comics

* Jason Ford

* Matt Kish
* Miss Grey

* Nate Powell
* Natto Soup
* Nix Comics

* Penina Gal
* Prince Of Cats Comics Art

* Robot 6

* Scott Kroll
* Space Guy 13

* The Outhousers
* Tom Williams

Facebook
* Bob Ray Starker
* Convention Page
* Dave Foland
* Elizabeth Velasco
* JT Dockery

Miscellaneous
* Back Porch Comics
* Laughing Ogre Comics

News Stories and Columns
* Columbus Alive
* Columbus Monthly
* WSYX ABC 6

Photos
* Comic Related 01
* Comic Related 02
* Comic Related 03
* Comic Related 04
* Comic Related 05
* Drew Brockington
* Jono Balliet
* Mucha Smooches
* Nix Comics

Twitter
* Christian Hoffer
* Mike Freiheit
* The Outhousers

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Go, Look: The Intrepideers And The Brothers Of Blood

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Collective Memory: Linework NW 2014

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2014 edition of Linework NW, held April 12 at Sons Of Norway Grieg Lodge in Portland.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people

*****

Institutional
* Convention Site
* Festival Location
* Host City

Audio
* KBOO

Blog Entries
* Alec Longstreth

* Falling Rock National Park
* Farel Dalrymple
* Fantagraphics

* Grass Hut

* Lori D

* Most Ancient

* One Of The Johns

* Periscope Studios
* Portland State University

* Scout Books
* SG Blogs

* The Beat

* Up Yours News

Facebook
* Ed Luce
* Jason Fischer
* Jason Lamb
* T. Edward Bak

News Stories and Columns
* KBOO
* Portland Mercury 01
* Portland Mercury 02
* Oregonian
* Oregon Live
* PW

Photos
* Caroline Smith

* Ed Luce

* Fantagraphics (individual photo)
* Fantagraphics (Set)
* Francois Vigneault 01
* Francois Vigneault 02
* Francois Vigneault 03
* Francois Vigneault 04
* Francois Vigneault 05

* Jason Fischer
* Jason Lamb

* kirko kain

* Linework NW 01
* Lisa Mangum

* Marc Arsenault 01
* Marc Arsenualt 02

* the art of skinner

* Zack Soto

Twitter
* Festival Twitter Account
* kirko kain
* Linework NW
* Michael DeForge
* the art of skinner

Video
* Jim Woodring And His Giant Pen

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If I Were In Vancouver, I'd Go To This

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If I Were In Anaheim, I'd Go To This

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